Exploratory Workshop on the Social Impacts of Robotics
Daiwa Securities America Inc.
is beginning to take place, will enable robots to be positioned very close to each other permitting a higher degree of efficiency in space utiliza- tion, a major element in Japan where industrial land is relatively scarce and high-priced. This plant contrasts sharply with the custom-made, almost handicraft assembly of many American robot manufacturers. The ability of Fanuc to increase its output swiftly is understandable; when they speak of an ultimate capacity of 360 units per month of industrial robots (which I presume includes both machine loading/unloading robots now being sold and their new assembly robots) it seems quite feasible.
FUTURE OF JAPAN’S INDUSTRIAL ROBOTS
The demand projections for rapid growth are based on the following analysis:
(1) The intelligent robot with an internal microcomputer and sensory perceptions has emerged and its field of application, especially in assembly and inspection, will widen and expand very rapidly. The announced plans of the major electrical manufacturers should provide substantial markets within each company and its affiliates.
(2) The shortage of skilled labor and the aging of the work- force will hasten the acceptance of industrial robots.
(3) The ability of industrial robots to work in adverse work environments resulting in savings on anti-pollution devices and energy will also accelerate acceptance of industrial robots.
(4) The government policies of financial aid and accelerated depreciation will encourage the use of industrial robots among the small
and medium corporations.
To the extent that such firms are suppliers
of the larger process industries, they will be compelled to introduce industrial robots to provide swift on-time delivery of components, (the Komban System of Toyota) .
(5) To increase Japan’s competitiveness in international markets not only against the advanced Western nations, but also against its low labor cost competitors in East Asia (South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong) , Japanese firms are being compelled to automate.
(6) As demand for goods becomes less uniform and more
diversified, small and medium batch multi-product production
constant modification will become predominant. especially the BBS, has greater flexibility than purpose automatic equipment.
(7) Japan has made robots a top priority both for research and production and an unrestrained effort is being made in that direction.
(8) The Japanese expect a substantial expansion of robots to areas